Hermann Hesse





Hermann Hesse

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born
in Calw, Württemberg, Germany
July 02, 1877

died
August 09, 1962

website

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About this author

Hermann Hesse was a German-Swiss poet, novelist, and painter. In 1946, he received the Nobel Prize in Literature. His best known works include Steppenwolf, Siddhartha, and The Glass Bead Game (also known as Magister Ludi) which explore an individual's search for spirituality outside society.

In his time, Hesse was a popular and influential author in the German-speaking world; worldwide fame only came later. Hesse's first great novel, "Peter Camenzind", was received enthusiastically by young Germans desiring a different and more "natural" way of life at the time of great economic and technological progress in the country.

Throughout Germany, many schools are named after him. In 1964, the Calwer Hermann-Hesse-Preis was founded, which is awarde
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Average rating: 3.98 · 450,172 ratings · 13,730 reviews · 435 distinct works · Similar authors
Siddhartha
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3.95 of 5 stars 3.95 avg rating — 279,969 ratings — published 1922 — 629 editions
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Steppenwolf
by
4.08 of 5 stars 4.08 avg rating — 64,948 ratings — published 1927 — 260 editions
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Demian: Die Geschichte von ...
4.06 of 5 stars 4.06 avg rating — 32,965 ratings — published 1919 — 192 editions
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Narcissus and Goldmund
4.16 of 5 stars 4.16 avg rating — 23,040 ratings — published 1930 — 4 editions
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The Glass Bead Game
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4.1 of 5 stars 4.10 avg rating — 15,261 ratings — published 1943 — 124 editions
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Beneath the Wheel
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3.78 of 5 stars 3.78 avg rating — 6,787 ratings — published 1906 — 84 editions
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The Journey to the East
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3.7 of 5 stars 3.70 avg rating — 5,661 ratings — published 1932 — 61 editions
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Peter Camenzind
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3.77 of 5 stars 3.77 avg rating — 3,024 ratings — published 1904 — 37 editions
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Gertrude
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3.78 of 5 stars 3.78 avg rating — 2,873 ratings — published 1910 — 51 editions
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The Fairy Tales of Hermann ...
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3.99 of 5 stars 3.99 avg rating — 2,310 ratings — published 1955 — 42 editions
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More books by Hermann Hesse…
“Learn what is to be taken seriously and laugh at the rest.”
Hermann Hesse

“For me, trees have always been the most penetrating preachers. I revere them when they live in tribes and families, in forests and groves. And even more I revere them when they stand alone. They are like lonely persons. Not like hermits who have stolen away out of some weakness, but like great, solitary men, like Beethoven and Nietzsche. In their highest boughs the world rustles, their roots rest in infinity; but they do not lose themselves there, they struggle with all the force of their lives for one thing only: to fulfil themselves according to their own laws, to build up their own form, to represent themselves. Nothing is holier, nothing is more exemplary than a beautiful, strong tree. When a tree is cut down and reveals its naked death-wound to the sun, one can read its whole history in the luminous, inscribed disk of its trunk: in the rings of its years, its scars, all the struggle, all the suffering, all the sickness, all the happiness and prosperity stand truly written, the narrow years and the luxurious years, the attacks withstood, the storms endured. And every young farmboy knows that the hardest and noblest wood has the narrowest rings, that high on the mountains and in continuing danger the most indestructible, the strongest, the ideal trees grow.

Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth. They do not preach learning and precepts, they preach, undeterred by particulars, the ancient law of life.

A tree says: A kernel is hidden in me, a spark, a thought, I am life from eternal life. The attempt and the risk that the eternal mother took with me is unique, unique the form and veins of my skin, unique the smallest play of leaves in my branches and the smallest scar on my bark. I was made to form and reveal the eternal in my smallest special detail.

A tree says: My strength is trust. I know nothing about my fathers, I know nothing about the thousand children that every year spring out of me. I live out the secret of my seed to the very end, and I care for nothing else. I trust that God is in me. I trust that my labor is holy. Out of this trust I live.

When we are stricken and cannot bear our lives any longer, then a tree has something to say to us: Be still! Be still! Look at me! Life is not easy, life is not difficult. Those are childish thoughts. Let God speak within you, and your thoughts will grow silent. You are anxious because your path leads away from mother and home. But every step and every day lead you back again to the mother. Home is neither here nor there. Home is within you, or home is nowhere at all.

A longing to wander tears my heart when I hear trees rustling in the wind at evening. If one listens to them silently for a long time, this longing reveals its kernel, its meaning. It is not so much a matter of escaping from one's suffering, though it may seem to be so. It is a longing for home, for a memory of the mother, for new metaphors for life. It leads home. Every path leads homeward, every step is birth, every step is death, every grave is mother.

So the tree rustles in the evening, when we stand uneasy before our own childish thoughts: Trees have long thoughts, long-breathing and restful, just as they have longer lives than ours. They are wiser than we are, as long as we do not listen to them. But when we have learned how to listen to trees, then the brevity and the quickness and the childlike hastiness of our thoughts achieve an incomparable joy. Whoever has learned how to listen to trees no longer wants to be a tree. He wants to be nothing except what he is. That is home. That is happiness.”
Hermann Hesse, Bäume. Betrachtungen und Gedichte

“If you hate a person, you hate something in him that is part of yourself. What isn't part of ourselves doesn't disturb us.”
Hermann Hesse, Demian: Die Geschichte von Emil Sinclairs Jugend

Polls

Which book should be our non-legal Group Read for June 2014?

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
Junot Díaz

Things have never been easy for Oscar, a sweet but disastrously overweight ghetto nerd, a New Jersey romantic who dreams of becoming the Dominican J.R.R. Tolkien and, most of all, of finding love. But he may never get what he wants, thanks to the fukú — the ancient curse that has haunted the Oscar's family for generations, dooming them to prison, torture, tragic accidents, and, above all, ill-starred love. Oscar, still dreaming of his first kiss, is only its most recent victim - until the fateful summer that he decides to be its last.

With dazzling energy and insight, Junot Díaz immerses us in the uproarious lives of our hero Oscar, his runaway sister Lola, and their ferocious beauty-queen mother Belicia, and in the epic journey from Santo Domingo to Washington Heights to New Jersey's Bergenline and back again. Rendered with uncommon warmth and humor, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao presents an astonishing vision of the contemporary American experience and the endless human capacity to persevere - and to risk it all - in the name of love.

A true literary triumph, this novel confirms Junot Díaz as one of the best and most exciting writers of our time.
 
  6 votes 31.6%

Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse
Siddhartha
Hermann Hesse

In the novel, Siddhartha, a young man, leaves his family for a contemplative life, then, restless, discards it for one of the flesh. He conceives a son, but bored and sickened by lust and greed, moves on again. Near despair, Siddhartha comes to a river where he hears a unique sound. This sound signals the true beginning of his life -- the beginning of suffering, rejection, peace, and, finally, wisdom
 
  5 votes 26.3%

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
The Goldfinch
Donna Tartt

A young boy in New York City, Theo Decker, miraculously survives an accident that takes the life of his mother. Alone and determined to avoid being taken in by the city as an orphan, Theo scrambles between nights in friends’ apartments and on the city streets. He becomes entranced by the one thing that reminds him of his mother, a small, mysteriously captivating painting that soon draws Theo into the art underworld.
 
  4 votes 21.1%

The Race Underground  Boston, New York, and the Incredible Rivalry That Built America's First Subway by Doug Most
The Race Underground: Boston, New York, and the Incredible Rivalry That Built America's First Subway
Doug Most

In the late nineteenth century, as cities like Boston and New York grew more congested, the streets became clogged with plodding, horse-drawn carts. When the great blizzard of 1888 crippled the entire northeast, a solution had to be found. Two brothers from one of the nation's great families—Henry Melville Whitney of Boston and William Collins Whitney of New York—pursued the dream of his city digging America's first subway, and the great race was on. The competition between Boston and New York played out in an era not unlike our own, one of economic upheaval, life-changing innovations, class warfare, bitter political tensions, and the question of America’s place in the world.The Race Underground is peopled with the famous, like Boss Tweed, Grover Cleveland and Thomas Edison, and the not-so-famous, from brilliant engineers to the countless "sandhogs" who shoveled, hoisted and blasted their way into the earth’s crust, sometimes losing their lives in the construction of the tunnels. Doug Most chronicles the science of the subway, looks at the centuries of fears people overcame about traveling underground and tells a story as exciting as any ever ripped from the pages of U.S. history. The Race Underground is a great American saga of two rival American cities, their rich, powerful and sometimes corrupt interests, and an invention that changed the lives of millions
 
  4 votes 21.1%

19 total votes
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